- Libreville; 611,000
- 267,667 square kilometers (103,347 square miles)
- French, Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi
- Christian, indigenous beliefs
- CFA franc
- Life Expectancy:
- GDP per Capita:
- U.S. $6,500
- Literacy Percent:
Gabon Facts Flag
Gabon sits on the Equator in western Africa. Oil, timber, and manganese earn this thinly settled republic one of the highest per capita incomes in Africa. However, the income is largely based on oil money going to a few—most live by subsistence farming. France gained control starting in 1839, and Libreville (Free Town), Gabon's capital, got its name when French forces freed slaves there in 1849. With independence in 1960, it functioned mostly as a one-party state until 1991, when a new constitution brought multiparty democracy. In 2002 the country created 13 new national parks—some 11 percent of Gabon's area—to protect its forests and wildlife from logging.
- Industry: Petroleum extraction and refining, manganese and gold mining, chemicals
- Agriculture: Cacao, coffee, sugar, palm oil; cattle; okoume (a tropical softwood); fish
- Exports: Crude oil, timber, manganese, uranium
—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition
Beyond the game drive, here are new ways to experience the classic trip.
Baking temperatures, wastelands of salt—it's hard to imagine a more brutal landscape than Africa's Danakil Desert.
Kingo and his family of western lowland gorillas are giving researchers an intimate glimpse into their private lives.
Travel Photos From Your Shot
Browse Stunning Images of These Natural Marvels
Shop National Geographic
Special Ad Section
Watch as Nat Geo photographers reveal what drives them to create iconic images.